Toyota C-HR Hybrid review

The Toyota C-HR looks great and, despite the frustrating CVT automatic gearbox, is a really appealing car that's easy to live with

£24,500 - £28,895
Hybrid

Pros

  • Sharp styling
  • Low fuel costs
  • No range anxiety

Cons

  • Only pure electric at low speeds
  • Not spacious by 4x4 standards
  • Noisy acceleration
Car type MPG (comb) CO2 0-62mph
Hybrid 74.3mpg 86g/km 11.0 secs

The sci-fi look of the Toyota C-HR is quite unusual, but underneath you'll find the familiar 1.8-litre petrol-electric setup from the Toyota Prius. It sends 120bhp to the front wheels and is only offered with a CVT automatic gearbox.

The C-HR Hybrid is, of course, all about efficiency. Official economy of more than 70mpg is tempting for obvious reasons, but the reality is that it’ll be hard to match in real-world driving. Even so, you’ll get good fuel economy by any standard, and low CO2 emissions keep company-car tax down.

Bear in mind that the Toyota C-HR is a ‘self-charging’ hybrid, just like the Toyota RAV4 and Kia Niro – not a plug-in hybrid like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Mini Countryman S E All4. It doesn’t offer any pure-electric running other than during parking or at a very slow crawl – and even then, only for a mile or two. It can’t be plugged in; the engine charges the batteries while you’re driving around

If you want to commute short distances on electricity alone, but still have the convenience of petrol or diesel power for longer journeys, then a plug-in hybrid could be better, although it’ll cost more to buy.

The only thing that might bother you about how the C-HR Hybrid drives is the automatic CVT gearbox. Under moderate to heavy acceleration, the engine revs rise very quickly, making the C-HR noisy when you accelerate, even though it’s not terribly fast. Still, it handles very neatly and is comfortable, so if you’re not fussed about some thrashy sounding acceleration, then you’ll enjoy driving it.

The really eye-catching looks are a significant part of the C-HR’s appeal, too, and while these come at the cost of visibility through those steeply raked rear windows, there’s a reasonable amount of space in the back. Mind you, the small rear doors can make life awkward if you’ve got kids and child seats and the fairly small boot will fill up quickly if you’ve got a chunky off-road or twin buggy, too.

The funky-looking trim inserts and a generally modern-looking dashboard also make the C-HR’s interior a nice place to be. This is one area that’s a big step forward from drab Toyota interiors of old. 

Equipment levels are very good. That eight-inch touchscreen is included on all models, but you’ll need to go for a mid-range trim to get sat-nav and keyless entry, while top-spec models get the contrast roof treatment as well as other style upgrades.

A five-year/100,000-mile warranty is one of the best available, which, together with strong safety standard and driver aids and a well-earned reputation for reliability, makes the C-HR one of the best peace-of-mind prospects in the crowded small SUV class.

For more on the Toyota C-HR Hybrid, read the rest of our in-depth review.